Ecommerce has become a thing, and any company that hasn’t yet taken advantage of the rise of eCommerce and its popularity is leaving a lot on the table. This WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison details my personal experience with the two eCommerce platforms, and help you decide on which will be the ideal choice for you.
This review will look at what people are saying about these tools on Reddit, it will be looking at WooCommerce and Shopify cost and pricing, the ease of running SEO campaigns, features, security, and market share.
I have been on both sides of this argument. I have used Shopify to run several stores, and I still run leepo.net on Shopify. I have also used WooCommerce in the past for dropshipping, I used it with Alidropship. These two platforms have unique features, and they have different strengths and weaknesses.
So without further ado, let’s dig into our WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a commerce platform. It was designed to make setting up an online store and selling products as easy and seamless as possible. Apart from being an electronic commerce platform, Shopify allows selling of products in-person, so you can have your customers come to your brick and mortar store via the POS and POS Pro feature and accept payments via Shopify Payments.
Shopify is what we will call a full package. Everything, from the creation of the store to designing the store, to setting up customized features is done on the platform. All you need is a monthly subscription fee.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is different. Woocomerce is an open-source plugin. It works for WordPress, and it can be used to add the eCommerce functionality to any WordPress website.
WooCommerce isn’t 100 percent managed, even after installing the plugin, you’d need other plugins like WooCommerce Pyments which allows you easily collect payments online.
While WooCommerce is a free plugin, you might have to pay to be able to enjoy its features to the full. There is the WooCommerce theme that costs around $59, and plugins and extensions that start at $25 and go as high as $299, and depending on what type of store you are opening, you might have to pay up to $89 for the Alidropship plugin for dropshipping stores.
What do you get when you use each of these tools?
In the preceding paragraphs, we brushed on the surface of the real costs of running a store on each of these tools.
Before we go deeper into pricing, I’d like to make something pretty clear, so that you understand what the differences are, and what to expect.
Shopify is a complete commerce platform. If you choose not to, you can run your store, make sales, accept credit cards, or PayPal payments with the payment gateways that come with Shopify. After the $29 per month, you’re not obliged to buy any other thing.
WooCommerce is just a plugin, it’s not a store like what you get for Shopify. You’d still need a WordPress web hosting provider, and maybe one or two paid plugins. The plugins aren’t compulsory too, but your WordPress hosting is compulsory for WooCommerce to work.
How big is Shopify’s market share? According to builtwith.com, Shopify powers 15.81 percent of the online stores in the USA, which translates to 917,076 online stores. Around 11.72 percent of the websites on the internet are using Shopify, which is an estimated 1,240,150 online stores.
Woocomerce, on the other hand powers 683,495 online stores in the USA, which is around 11.78 percent. On the international stage, WooCommerce boasts of around 1,187,726 websites, which ends up at around 9.13 percent of websites.
Shopify is clearly eating the larger chunk of the market when it comes to market share. But from all indication, it is beating Woocomerce by only a slight margin, both in the USA and internationally.
The next stop in our Shopify vs WooCommerce comparison is the features you get from both tools. How do they perform?
WooCommerce vs Shopify features side by side
|Shopping cart||Free SSL certificate, payment gateways, Credit cards, multiple languages, free shipping, abandoned checkout recovery, automatic taxes.||Payment gateways, Shopify payments, credit cards, subscription and deposits, auto tax calculations.|
|Store management||Fulfillment centers, customer profiles, customer accounts, refunds, dropshipping support, email templates, order fulfillment.||Update products, fulfill orders, live shipping rates from top carriers, and print-at-home labels.|
|Mobile App||Customer support, order fulfillment||Order fulfillment, update products|
|Products||Digital products, multiple images, SEO product tags, unlimited products, import, and export of products.||Digital products, subscription model, sell appointments, membership, bundle sales.|
|Marketing||Gift cards and discounts, amazon and eBay sales channels, sell on Facebook and Instagram Pins, product reviews, and bonus $100 Adwords credit.||Smart coupons, Facebook, Google Adwords, Google analytics, Amazon, and eBay sales channels, Pinterest, and Zapier integration.|
|Web hosting||Unlimited bandwidth, Email forwarding, SSL certificates.|
|SEO||SEO optimized, auto XML sitemap for product pages and blog posts|
|Analytics||Google analytics, traffic, and referral reports|
|Support||Help center, 24/7 email, live chat, and phone support||Email, Help center, live chat|
|Point of Sale||Yes||Yes|
So, which of these features do you need most? I must include that some of the marketing integrations for WooCommerce costs money. Pinterest costs $79, Zapier costs $59, to have the Multilanguage feature costs $199, while the plugin to enable subscriptions costs $199.
How do they perform on the security front? Shopify is a fully hosted eCommerce platform, so they offer free SSL certificates, and they handle everything your store needs. The domain names are also automatically coming with your WHOIS information hidden.
Woocomerce is only a plugin. So you’ll need to buy an SSL certificate or host your website on a web hosting provider like Siteground that offers free SSL certificates. You’d also need to install other security plugins and work to ensure that your customer payments and data are safe.
So you decide which the best option for you is. Shopify charges you monthly, and the only thing you do is manage your store, they handle all the technical, while WooCommerce requires you to handle your store yourself. On the one hand, WooCommerce gives you complete control of your store.
Speed and Mobile-friendliness
Shopify used to be hosted on Amazon web services, but they have moved part of their infrastructure to Google. Shopify boasts of 99.98 percent uptime, with a faster load speed than similar SaaS platforms. Their CDN network spans all around the world, making it possible for stores in each region to experience the same super-fast speed.
On your WooCommerce WordPress store, you’d need to handle your speed yourself, or at least select a web hosting provider that has an OK internet speed, of course, this might mean spending on a VPN.
The WooCommerce plugin and themes are pretty lightweight, they are also very mobile friendly. Shopify manages the mobile-friendliness of all its stores, so like 99.5 percent of Shopify stores and themes are mobile-friendly.
WooCommerce vs Shopify SEO comparison
Search engine optimization is super important when creating a website these days. WooCommerce is my preferred choice in this regard, and that is because I have become used to managing my SEO on my WordPress websites. I used Yoast SEO premium, so I was able to set my store and my SEO to my heart’s content.
I did like that Shopify allows you to edit your URL, product titles, and Meta descriptions, which is also a plus. Shopify allows you to generate sitemaps based on your pages, and your products, so you can submit your product pages to the search engines and have these indexed fast.
In case you decide to go the dropshipping route, which would I recommend? I’d say Shopify if you are serious about business and have low finances. But I’d recommend Woocommerce if you have some extra cash and are ready to go in for the long haul.
Why Shopify? Depending on your budget, and the ease of starting the store that you want, Shopify allows you to create your store in as little time as possible. If you want something 100% managed and never have to worry about keeping your website secure, while having apps that make your life easier, Shopify is the deal.
If you have a budget, and can spend time creating your store on WordPress and have it up and running, doing all the work yourself, WooCommerce might be best for you.
If you have the budget to buy an Alidropship plugin that costs $89, and buy the add-ons and plugins needed, which would sometimes go into the X00s, then you might go the WooCommerce route.
I must reveal that Shopify also has paid apps. In fact, the very best apps are priced highly. I just want you to know that both will require you to buy additional plugins and sometimes themes if you need specialized features.
Shopify vs WooCommerce cost/pricing comparison
So what are the actual costs of starting a store with these two technologies? Let’s break everything down in detail, so you have an accurate estimate of what you should budget from ideation to making your store live.
|Shopify Cost / Pricing plan||WooCommerce pricing|
|Domain Name — starting at $14/Year||Domain name — $12/year|
|Month $9 – The Shopify Lite plan allows you to sell on Facebook and chat with our customers.||WooCommerce Plugin – Free|
|Monthly $29 – Max of 2 staff accounts, no advanced report builder, no professional reports, no third-party calculated shipping rates, up to 64 percent shipping discount.||Theme — $59|
|Monthly $79 – Max of 5 staff accounts, no advanced report builder, no third-party calculated shipping rates, up to 72 percent shipping discount.||Web hosting — $5-$25 monthly|
|Monthly $299 – Max of 18 staff accounts, up to 74 percent shipping discount, and all the features.||Plugins and extensions – Staring at $20|
All plans of Shopify come with gift cards and discount codes features.
Conclusion and my verdict
And there you have my WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison. There are just so many amazing features we could get from these two, and at the end of the day, we all have different needs, and our business goals are different. You’d need to select the one that does the job for you in the fastest time.
I love the ease of use, and being able to take my hands off my store’s technical areas and concentrate on pushing sales, so I will pick Shopify.
Some of you like being able to control the life of your business; I mean, if Shopify decides that you’re violating their TOS tomorrow, and they decide to throw you off, it’s as good as killing your business, especially if you’re just starting.
If being able to control your business 100% is the prime concern, then I’ll recommend that you go with WooCommerce.
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John follows everything happening in the tech industry, from the latest gadget launches to some of the big-name moves in the industry. He covers opinionated pieces and writes on some of the biggest names in the industry. John is also a freelance writer, so he shares articles on freelancing every now and then. email: [email protected]